You’ve probably thought about going to college for a large portion of your life because others around you told you that it’s a must. But are college degrees necessary? Perhaps they were a few decades ago, but they’re not nearly as important as they used to be and are losing value with each year that passes. We live in the digital era, where people can easily find valuable information to expand their knowledge online. In addition, the younger generation realizes that they can learn more outside of college than they can at college. Gone are the days of needing a college education to be successful and make money.
If you’re not so sure, check out these seven ways that prove to you college degrees aren’t necessary. You may be surprised to learn all the incredible things you can do and become, even without spending time in college.
#1. College Graduates Don’t Always Use the Degrees They’ve Earned
Plenty of people go to college, get a degree in something specific, and then never use that degree. For example, you could get a degree in forensic psychology and end up working as a social media marketing expert because you enjoy it more than you did any psychology-related position. It happens all the time, but it can cost a small fortune.
Everyone has the right to change their minds and decide on a different career if the one they initially planned to pursue doesn’t pan out. Still, it’s often frustrating for these recent college graduates who decide to get jobs that don’t require them to use their degrees, yet they still have to pay all those student loans off.
Knowing that college graduates don’t always use the degrees they’ve earned should make you realize that you could end up going to school for four or more years to rack up student loan debt and deal with the academic stress for nothing. If you don’t feel like college is right for you, don’t do it. If you’re already there and don’t want to be, don’t hesitate to drop out because it’s a decision you’re not going to regret.
#2. Going to College Costs a Fortune
The cost of college tuition has only increased over the past several decades. For example, in 1970, students were paying around $367 per year for an education at a four-year college. Students are now paying about $38,000 a year for their college education, leading to over $100,000 in debt by the time they graduate. Can you imagine graduating from college and realizing how much money you’re going to owe to your student loan lenders? It starts to make you wonder why anyone would want to put themselves through such a financially draining situation in the first place.
The numbers for private colleges are even worse. It’s at the point where some doctors and other medical professionals with college degrees are wondering how they’ll manage to pay off up to $800k in student loans.
#3. You Can Go to a Trade School to Gain Skills and Find Work
Some people like to act like college is the only way to gain skills and prove that you’re good at something when it’s not. Young adults have access to more trade schools than ever before, with opportunities to learn skills to use in profitable trades to make decent money. If you’re not thinking about becoming a teacher or getting into a profession requiring you to have a degree, you have plenty of other opportunities.
You might not have even realized the number of trades you could get into that would allow you to earn a certification in a year or less. Whether you’d like to get into the medical field, mechanic services, cosmetology, or veterinary assistant services, you have dozens of options to learn the ropes, gain crucial skills, and get high-paying jobs without ever stepping foot in college. It’s not the only way to make it in life, and if someone tells you that it is, you can prove them wrong.
You’ll be glad to know that if you decide to go to a trade school, the tuition is MUCH less than the college tuition. The best thing about trades schools, other than the lower tuition, is that you can earn your certification in less time.
#4. More People Are Becoming Independent Contractors & Entrepreneurs
We’re living in a world full of independent contractors and entrepreneurs. Most baby boomers spent years of their lives working jobs they hated and getting underpaid for the services they provided, but the newer generation of young professionals aren’t willing to deal with it. So, instead of staying at jobs that don’t satisfy them or pay them well enough, they’re choosing to become independent contractors and entrepreneurs.
You have the option to work as an independent contractor for hundreds of different companies, including ones that hire remote workers. When you’re an independent contractor, you get to enjoy the perks of a flexible schedule while earning a decent income. And, if working for someone else isn’t for you, becoming a business owner is always an option. There are more than enough opportunities available for those passionate about starting businesses.
#5. The Gig Economy is Taking Over
When you think about apps like Uber, Lyft, Instacart, and Shipt, it’s evident that someone has to complete these tasks for the people who use them. The gig economy is taking off, with a growing number of apps available for independent contractors who’d like to chauffeur, shop and deliver groceries, or even deliver fast food from different restaurants to customers. Some even like to do something called multi-apping, where they’ve signed up with multiple gigs and log into them daily to increase their earnings.
The gig economy has become such a big thing because it’s allowed people to work on their time instead of following a set schedule. Not everyone wants to sit in an office building for eight hours a day without getting to enjoy the finer things in life. Some people like to travel, spend more time with loved ones, or even build a business and are using these gigs to help fund their dreams. Perhaps the best part of the gig economy is that you don’t need to have a degree to get in on it.
#6. You Can Learn a Lot From Experience
While you can learn new things in college, you’re more likely to learn everything you need to know in life based on experiences that you’ve had. If you’re not wasting time in college, you have more opportunities to try out different things, including brick-and-mortar jobs, 1099 gigs, and even potentially starting your own business. The more experience you earn over the years, the better the opportunities you’ll have in the future.
If you’ve ever felt like you’re missing out by not going to college, let’s face it – the only real thing you’re missing out on is frat parties. The classes are boring, the assignments are tedious, and most colleges don’t even think about the severity of the workload and how it impacts mental health. Why put yourself in a position to suffer mentally, emotionally, and financially? You can skip college altogether because a degree isn’t necessary.
#7. Employers Favor Skills Over Degrees
You’ve probably heard that employers want to hire job applicants with a degree and that anyone who has a degree would be more likely to get hired than someone without one. Don’t believe the people that say this because their information is outdated. Employers may have initially favored degrees because they used to be more exclusive, with not nearly as many people having them a few decades ago. However, degrees are oversaturated and no longer hold the value they held years ago.
When everyone has something, it’s not as valuable. So instead of prioritizing a college degree, start focusing more on improving your skills and becoming the best you can be. If you gain more experience and have an extensive list of skills to offer, your resume will look better than someone who has a degree yet no knowledge or skills.
Employers are beginning to favor skills over degrees because it’s the people who know what they’re doing that keep their businesses running smoothly. They want to hire someone willing to get the job done, degree or not.
If you’ve found yourself asking, “Are college degrees losing their value?” you’re not the only one. It’s become easier to see that college degrees don’t hold the value they once did, especially since it’s much easier for anyone to get one. The next time you hear someone arguing over the importance of a college degree, let them know that millions of people are making a minimum of $50k per year without college degrees, and many are making even more than that. Also, don’t forget that some of your favorite products and services come from college dropouts, including people like the late Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates. If that doesn’t prove to the doubters that college degrees aren’t necessary, nothing will!